Process Art is not about us. It's about them.
TIP #1: Set the expections up front
At the beginning on the year, send home a flyer about the types of activities you'll be doing in your room and WHY. If you need a template to get you started, I've got you. Click here to download a one-page document that you can personalize for your class.
TIP #2: Take pictures
Capturing the actual creation will help parents to visualize what exactly happened. Video is even better. See how focused they are? See how they are smiling?
TIP #3: Stop sending the art home
Stop worrying about HAVING something to send home. It's okay if they don't take something home. If the process is what really matters, the product created isn't needed as proof. Don't feel like you need to keep everything. Often times in our art centers, those small quarter sheets of paper get used and left there, with no name or way of knowing who it belongs to. We usually pile them all up and save them until the end of the day JUST IN CASE someone comes back for it. If not, it get's thrown away. If the kids don't care, why should you?
TIP #4: Make collaborative art instead
Giant collaborative art is wonderful for the classroom because it's easier to prepare, uses fewer resources, and encourages communication skills between students. Plus, when the art stays in the classroom, it can be revisited over and over (and none of the parents have to figure out what to do with the day's art.)
TIP #5: Document what the children say about their art
Write a note quoting the child's explanation of their art. Drawing for preschoolers is more about communication than it is about making something pretty. This way parents can continue the conversation at home.
I hope that those tips are helpful. What's your best tip for advocating for more PROCESS ART in the preschool classroom? I'd love to know!
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More Process Art for Preschoolers
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For older artist, the results are stunning and the design possibilities are endless. For younger artists, the process of squirting out the shaving cream and dropping the color is great for fine motor development (not to mention, it's fun to play in the colored shaving cream when your done!).
For a edible version, try whipped cream instead of shaving cream. The colors aren't as bright, but it's safe for the really young artists to put in their mouths.
See below for detailed, written instructions. But here's a super quick tutorial that we did live on our Facebook page.
Step One: Squirt the shaving cream into the pie plate.
You need complete coverage but it doesn't need to be deep. We usually look for about half an inch. You can use a spatula to spread it evenly around when your done squirting it out.
Afterward, you can drop in more color, swirl again, and repeat the printing process. Or, you can just enjoy the shaving cream as a sensory play invitation.
We recently use our shaving cream prints to make planets. We splatter painted a piece of black construction paper with white paint and then glued on the marbled planets.
These printed papers are perfect for collages (think spring flowers, fall leaves, etc). They also make a beautiful set of notecards!
I do. We do. You do.
We think the "We do" step is really the most important (and the hardest) so this blog post is going to focused pretty heavily on that stage. We've outlined some tips below. Be sure to watch our YouTube video too, where Miss Allison explains more about these three stages.
What can you teach ?
Our job as parents is to make little productive adults, right? So, what can we teach? Well, everything we know. We need to teach them everything that they'll need to be successful on their own. All those life skills from tying their shoes to doing their own laundry to checking the tire pressure in their car tires.
There are many checklists floating around blogs and pinterests boards that can give you an idea of what kinds of tasks your children are ready to learn. Do a google search. Or just take our word for it, and check out this one from FamilyEducation.com
We generally believe that kids are much more capable than we give them credit for. Given the proper TEACHING, they can be responsible for many jobs around the house.
And teaching is what we do here. So, let us help you out.
I do. We do. You do.
These are the steps. There's no timeline for them. There's no magic number of times you have to show them and do it with them before they "get it." There's nothing that says that just because you've made it successfully to YOU DO that you don't have to revisit the WE DO stage when the bathroom cleaning gets a little lax.
Just know that when your little ones (or big ones) are struggling with something that they SHOULD know how to do, it's time to go back to WE DO.
The Importance of We Do.
That means together. Like side-by-side. Fully supportive. This is hard because whatever it is that you're trying to teach is going to take twice as long with someone else tagging along. Gah. It's going to be frustrating. This is going to test your patience. For you control freaks out there, this is going to test your ability to let go a little bit.
The goal with WE DO is to teach them these new skills through cooperation not through coercion. Everyone's experience will be better if your kiddos actually want learn it. The pace of the learner matters.
In no particular order, here's are best advice on WE DO.
But, what if they just don't want to?
Honestly, who really WANTS to do laundry? We get it. It's hard to make these chores attractive.
If you've got a little one who has dug in their heels on something, pick a different battle. Start with something they're interested in. Go slow. Especially if they haven't had many responsibilities leading up to this point.
That WE DO stage might need to last a good long while.
Hang in there, parents. You're raising responsible adults and that's not an easy task.
Most students already attend a weekly art class in school. Why should elementary, middle school, and even high school students take art classes OUTSIDE of school? Isn't it the same thing?
There are many ways that our big kids benefit from regular weekly art classes OUTSIDE of school. Here are just a handful:
With Halloween around the corner, we're doing quite a bit of dress-up play in the Orange Easel studio.
Wait...what? Dress-up? Is this ART???
Playing dress-up exercises the imagination through role playing, acting, and plot development. Done properly, the game of dress-up demands a large selection: garage-sale-treasures, out-dated accessories, old Halloween costumes, and dance recital dresses.
But, we believe that the dress-up bin has the potential to include a variety of homemade (CHILD-made) items. There's the possibility for CREATION. And THAT is the Art.
These are the types of invitations we're setting-up this month in the studio. Yes, there's still an Ironman costume, and a tutu, and a sword and shield. But where the supply is lacking there's the possibility of creation too. Encouraging the children to make their OWN costumes for play fosters an attitude of self-sufficiency, confidence, and independence.
So, ORANGE EASEL doesn't have an Elsa costume? Let's make one!
(And we're not talking about the picture-perfect one that you see on Pinterest that is a 24 page pdf pattern that Momma sew together. We're talking CHILD-directed, CHILD-created. It isn't going to look like something from the store. And that's okay. Actually it's better.)
Build your Dress-Up Bin
If your kids really get into making costumes, you can encourage this creativity and independence: keep a stash of recyclables, scrap fabric, old clothes, construction paper and craft supplies near your dress-up station!
What's the favorite item in your dress-up bin?
What is Sensory Play
Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child's senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.
Why Sensory Play is Important
Toddlers and preschoolers need MANY MANY opportunities to get hands-on. We learn through our senses...the more the better. Feel it. Hear it. Smell it. See it.
Sensory play allows for self-discovery. The open-endedness of it encourages imaginative play and problem solving. Adults may not see "the point" of this type of play, since nothing is created or produced. The child dictates the play that happens based on what he or she NEEDS to learn...cause-and-effect, the concept of filling-and-emptying, small world reenactment, etc.
Manipulating the sensory materials and tools also develops motor skills needed for future writing. Scooping and pouring requires core strength, shoulder stability and wrist rotation.
"Keep it in the tub" isn't one of our rules. It takes quite a bit of skill to "keep it in the tub" and it's not realistic to expect that of our little hands who are JUST learning to scoop and pour with precision. A broom and a shop vac make quick work of clean up (bonus: most kiddos love using the shop vac)
A Special note For big kids
It's easy to think that this type of play is only for the five-and-under crowd, but we encourage you to rethink that. Older children enjoy this type of play JUST as much as the little ones. Give them permission to explore and play. They are still kids too.
Ideas For Sensory Play
For specific sensory play ideas check out our "Sensory Play" Pinterest Board:
Content inspired by the artists and art created in our studio.
Orange Easel began as a small art studio in my basement and continues to grow and serve our community. Read more about our story here.